Origin of Chemical Weapons Allegedly Found in Iraq Will Be Difficult to Establish - 27 March, 2003

It will be virtually impossible to establish the origin of the chemical weapons that have allegedly been found near Baghdad. This was announced by Martin Sederstrem, a Finnish expert from Verifin (Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention) in an interview with STT news agency. Verifin is one of the Finnish research organisations giving assistance to UN military inspectors.

'Even if they have found chemical weapons in Iraq, it will be very difficult to prove that they are of Iraqi and not American origin,' said Mr Sederstrem, who is research director at the organisation. On the other hand, he added, it would be extremely foolish if the US tried to justify their invasion of Iraq by falsifying evidence about discovering an Iraqi chemical weapons programme.

He mentioned that the UN still have samples of chemical weapons previously produced by Iraq, so there will at least be something to compare any new finds with. However, it will be difficult to ascertain the origin of the weapons as, unlike biological weapons, chemical weapons do not contain any live bacteria and therefore they are difficult to trace.

'Moreover, any tests and analysis would have to be carried out by independent experts,' Mr Sederstrem emphasised. 'An independent investigation into the alleged chemical weapons could not begin within the next two weeks and so it will not actually be possible to provide any undeniable proof as to the weapons' origin.'